- 1 hr 40 min
Masques is a 1987 French thriller film directed by Claude Chabrol, starring Philippe Noiret, Robin Renucci, and Bernadette Lafont. The movie explores themes of deception and manipulation as it presents a convoluted murder mystery. The story primarily revolves around a wealthy businessman named LÃ©opold, played by Noiret, who resides in a sprawling estate in the French countryside. LÃ©opold leads a seemingly idyllic life, surrounded by his pets and a loyal group of household staff. However, things take a dark turn when an old acquaintance, named Roland GarbÃ¨s, played by Renucci, arrives at the mansion to ask LÃ©opold for a favor. Roland, an aspiring writer, is invited by LÃ©opold to spend a few days at the estate. However, his visit soon turns into a nightmare as he discovers that LÃ©opold's household is hiding several dark secrets. The staff members seem to be under the control of LÃ©opold and his wife, Fedora, played by Lafont, and have a strange tendency to enact bizarre and disturbing rituals. As Roland becomes more and more entangled in LÃ©opold's web of deceit, he begins to realize that there might be a connection between LÃ©opold's current behavior and the mysterious death of one of his former colleagues. But as he investigates further, he uncovers shocking secrets that put his own life in danger. The movie is expertly directed by Chabrol, who uses the sprawling estate as a metaphor for the hidden, dark secrets that lurk beneath the surface of the seemingly perfect world of the upper class. The film has an eerie atmosphere that keeps the audience on edge, even as it juggles multiple plot twists and turns. The performances by the three leads are also exceptional. Noiret is perfectly cast as LÃ©opold, exuding a calm and collected demeanor that belies his sinister intentions. Renucci is excellent as the tormented Roland, who slowly begins to unravel as the truth of the house's secrets is revealed. Lafont is also great as Fedora, LÃ©opold's equally manipulative and enigmatic wife. The movie also benefits from its visually stunning cinematography by Jean Rabier, who expertly captures the grandeur of the estate as well as the dismal moments of the story. The use of light and shadow is especially noteworthy, adding to the unsettling tone of the film. Despite being a somewhat slow-paced movie that requires the viewer to pay close attention to the intricate plot, Masques is an engrossing thriller that delivers on all fronts. It is a testament to Claude Chabrol's mastery of the genre and remains a classic in French cinema to this day. In conclusion, Masques is a must-watch for fans of the thriller genre and French cinema. It features a gripping story, exceptional performances, and stunning cinematography that will keep audiences captivated until its unpredictable and satisfying conclusion.